The message of Jesus is different. It’s different from every other religion, philosophy, or worldview. Today, we’re going to look at a passage that briefly explains a little bit of what makes our faith different.
1 CORINTHIANS 2:1-5, ESV
1And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. 2For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. 3And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, 4and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in the demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 5so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.
Paul begins this section of his letter by recalling a visit to the church in Corinth. To know more about his stay for this visit, you can read Acts 18:1-18. Briefly, however, we know that he was there for 18 months (v.11), he met his future ministry partners, Priscilla and Aquila, with whom he lived and made tents (v.3), he spent the Sabbaths reasoning in the Synagogues (v.4), and then, he was brought before the proconsul (Governor of the province) for charges of teaching people to worship God against the law (v.13).
Simply put, a lot happened in Corinth.
So, he reminds them of his 18-month stay, and then tells them that he did not try to preach God’s word with “lofty speech or wisdom.” What’s important to note here, and what Paul is referring to, is that the people of Corinth were saturated in Greek philosophy and thus many of them expected the preaching of Paul to be of the same type. Instead, Paul says that he “decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.” His message was simple: the cross of Christ. Sure, a lot is packed into the message of the cross, but in the midst of many false gods, the idea of God taking on human form and dying out of love for the people was essentially ludicrous.
He then continues on and tells them that he experienced weakness and fear and that his speech wasn’t comparable to that of the Greek rhetoric, but that is was powerfully in the Spirit. Now, remember that during his time in Corinth he reasoned in the Synagogues with the Jews and the Greeks. Now, whatever it looked like for Paul to reason with them, it’s clear that it was different.
Why did he reason and act differently? Why was it important? Paul explains, “So that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men might not rest in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.” Paul didn’t want the people to follow Christ because they loved his teaching style or because his way of speaking was more eloquent than the others, but because it was driven and completed by the Spirit of God.
The message of Jesus is different.
Not because it’s a more eloquent or logical message (though it is), but because it is the true message of God and is the only message verified by the Spirit of God in the hearts of the people.
Especially today, we cannot afford to follow anyone simply for his argumentation or eloquent speech, but only because he is preaching the true word of God. Furthermore, we can know that in telling others about our faith, we can rest in the fact that Jesus’ death for us is the essential aim of our message.
For the next few days, focus on the cross of Christ. Nothing else in this world can offer you what Christ offers: freedom. It’s simply different.